Minnesota students will be taking a new version of the standardized test help the state develop get ready for the new test's roll out in two years.
Minnesota currently meets federal education standards by giving a test called the MCA-II. The next generation - MCA-III - will go live in two years and the state needs practice to meet test score goals.
Starting today, students in more than 350 pre-selected schools will take field tests on those new MCA-III's. Scores won't count.
Dirk Mattson, with the state Department of Education, said officials are trying to see which questions work best.
"In the testing world, it would be sacrilegious to put the items out in front of kids for the first time when they actually counted and not have tried the question out," he said. "It's a violation of all sorts of testing standards."
The new tests are entirely computerized - so Mattson said these practice rounds will also give everyone a chance to get the logistics right.
Mattson says that shouldn't be a problem for students, given their past experience with computer-based tests.
"The computer is certainly not the thing that's getting in the way for kids," he said. "But we certainly do want to make sure that we're not asking kids to do something so refined that, if they don't click that mouse exactly right, that they're going to miss the item."